Adventures in the Land of Blubber and Ice

A taste of Arctic wildlife in Smeerenburg, Svalbard. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Monday, July 6, 2015
Silversea Expeditions’ Silver Explorer quietly made her way along the smooth-as-glass expanse of the Barents Sea this morning, as we sailed en-route to Magdalenafjorden in arctic Svalbard. With the exception of the temperature, which hovers around 1°C (34°F) and the slate-grey colour of the ocean, you could mistake this for the Caribbean. Rarely have I ever seen such an absolute flat calm.

An absolute flat calm: the bulbous bow of Silver Explorer cuts its  way through the Barents Sea. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

An absolute flat calm: the bulbous bow of Silver Explorer cuts its way through the Barents Sea. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Polar Regions are, by and large, misunderstood. It’s hard for people to grasp that Antarctica in December is actually warmer than many North American cities are at that time, thanks to the fact that December-January is actually summertime in the southernmost continent. So, while Toronto and New York struggle through with blizzards and ice storms, you might need to unzip your jacket as you walk among the penguins in Neko Harbour.
The same misconception holds true for the Arctic – it’s actually not as cold as you might think, though it is substantially co

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